Inducible defence and its modulation by environmental stress in the red alga Chondrus yendoi (Yamada and Mikami, 1965) from Honshu Island, Japan.

Kubicek, A., Bessho, K., Nakaoka, M., Wahl, Martin and Lenz, Mark (2011) Inducible defence and its modulation by environmental stress in the red alga Chondrus yendoi (Yamada and Mikami, 1965) from Honshu Island, Japan. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 397 (2). pp. 208-213. DOI 10.1016/j.jembe.2010.11.025.

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Among the numerous anti-herbivore defences developed by macroalgae, chemical and morphological traits are best documented and understood. Plant defence theory suggests that these resistances, which can either be constitutive or inducible, are associated with metabolic costs. They should therefore be impaired under conditions of energy limitation, but evidence for this prediction is scarce. In two subsequent experiments, we tested whether a reduction of light availability is changing feeding rates of the two mesoherbivores Idotea ochotensis and Lacuna smithii on the red alga Chondrus yendoi. Algal individuals were kept in outdoor mesocosm facilities for 10days, during which we manipulated the amount of incoming sunlight at 6 levels (0%99% reduction, i.e. 200020 mols1m2). Orthogonal to this, we established the presence or absence of one of the herbivores to test whether C. yendoi can generate a defence. Algal palatability was investigated afterwards in no-choice feeding assays using na ve grazer individuals. The consumption of algal tissue in L. smithii increased with decreasing light, while this was not the case for I. ochotensis. However, we found a defence induced as a reaction to herbivory only by the highly mobile isopod but not when the slowly moving snail grazed on C. yendoi. Isopod total consumption rates in our experiments were 40 times higher than those of the gastropods. We therefore suggest that C. yendoi exhibits grazer-specific reactions to herbivory, depending on the mobility and voracity of the consumers. Interestingly, only for one of the grazers, i.e. the snail, short-term light reduction influenced the palatability of algal tissue. We discuss different but not mutually exclusive models that could explain this pattern. In conclusion, we view this three-species system as an illustrative example for specificity in grazeralgal interactions and their modification by environmental stress.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Benthic Ecology; red algae; Chondrus yendoi; Abiotic stress; Idotea ochotensis; Inducible defences; Lacuna smithii; Plant–herbivore interactions
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-B Experimental Ecology - Benthic Ecology
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.jembe.2010.11.025
ISSN: 0022-0981
Projects: GAME
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2010 10:59
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2017 09:00

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